Standing Female Nude, Carol Ann Duffy, Critical Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Olszoweczka
Words 828
Pages 4
Carol Ann Duffy's poem "Standing Female Nude" is an ambiguous dramatic monologue of an unfulfilled proletarian woman. The poem explores the fight for power between the two characters, the ‘nude’ woman and the male artist. It emphasises the issues of social and gender separation (objectification of women) in France and explores Marxist philosophies. The model prostitute tries to “make a few francs”, which suggests that is all she is worth, while the painter tries to create a piece of art to become a great, “serious” artist. They use each other, but it is the woman who is subordinated to the men who gradually throughout the poem gains triumphant power over the man. “Standing Female Nude” is from Duffy’s first collection, when she was in her thirties, where there was a lot of social injustice, both class and gender injustice. The author as a strong feminist had to, like the poem's narrator, lay her soul bare in a male-led world.

In the course of the poem, Duffy exploits a range of techniques such as alliteration, “six hours for a few francs”, in order to highlight the model’s irritation and contempt of the disempowered situation she’s in. The author also uses imagery technique - through sexual overtones she belittles the artist, even though at first it is the model who seems to be in the thrall of the artist. “Little man / you’ve not got the money for the arts I sell”, where the words choice - “little” insinuates the man’s reduction in status and being sexually dismissive.

In the first stanza, through the relaxed, colloquial language, often filled with sexual overtones i.e. “belly nipple arse”, the slang and lack of possessive determiner show the model’s detachment (in a physical aspect) which is implemented as a survival mechanism. The objectification is highlighted again through the use of enjambments - short directions "Further to the right Madam", where…...

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